steps to like
arthur & ariadne

author's note: told from arthur's perspective. not like first person, but it's just about arthur. you know... ack. never mind.

disclaimer: i don't own inception. or arthur. or ariadne. or... you know, i don't own anything relating to inception: the plot, the brilliant amount of creativity mr. nolan has, the actors in the movie, or the character they play. got it? alright then.

1. you meet someone
(& you have to think harder than usual to process the simplest things)

He should have never forgiven Cobb for dragging him in to something that obviously couldn't be done. Doing inception was impossible. Hell; they were asking themselves to fail this assignment.

He pulled the PASIV out of its original casing and sets it on the table; wondering if Cobb was ever going to show up with that architect that he promised on their flight to Paris. He wondered if Miles—of course he was going to ask Miles for help—would have considered helping them and he wondered if the architect would end up like Nash.

If only that bastard had used the right carpet...

The opening of the warehouse door interrupted his thoughts.

Expecting only Cobb to enter, he only nodded his head in acknowledgement before turning back around to face the PASIV.

Only this time; it wasn't just Cobb, and the fact made Arthur do a double take. And straighten his back a little more to make himself look a little more presentable.

She was a college student—probably a college student based off the way she looked—and obviously had a passion for scarves. But he studies it for a second, and Arthur realizes is tempted to burn it.

Then he studies her face: her eyebrows, her eyes, her hair, her lips and realizes that everything about her is evenly proportioned. She's tiny, he realizes again, and cute and looks adorable for a college student. But her smile is larger than life; even if she's only sending a timid one toward him.

She extends her hand before he has time to process anything useful to exchange. "I'm Ariadne."

He takes it after a second, because his brain is starting to turn into a jumbled mess of nothingness and it's leading into a serious migraine. "Arthur."

2. you get to know them
(& you have to pull yourself together just to prevent yourself from looking like an idiot)

It takes him a few days to realize that Ariadne does her work a lot more efficiently than an average college student.

The architecture buildings she pulls from the papers and the mazes she draws just simply takes his breath away when he studies them. He becomes so impressed with her work; and he's not an easy person to impress.

Ariadne is sweet and funny and so consistent with everything she has to do. She may not have been as organized as he was—but seriously, who was more organized than him?—but her office is a mess that totally spells Ariadne all over it.

But she can seriously be temperamental if she needs to be; only if a certain man named Eames was there to make a seemingly beautiful day turn into a nightmare.

Especially since what he said affected Arthur has well.

It was a typical Tuesday afternoon at the warehouse: Ariadne was working on her mazes, Cobb and the others were working on their jobs as if there were no tomorrow, and Arthur was corresponding with the others. Except his brain decided to pull a stupid trick on him and when he finally became aware of what he was doing; he realized he was staring at her.

And Eames just had to notice. And he just had to walk up to Ariadne and mutter her something incoherent to Arthur. And she just had to look at him.

Arthur coughed nervously before readjusting the sleeves on his dress shirt and attempting to turn back to his work, hoping he didn't screw up again for the guys to notice the way his face looked like a burnt tomato.

3. you realize you like her
(& somehow everyone except her manages to find out)

Cobb swirled his morning coffee once more, his eyes darting between Arthur and the bitter liquid in his cup. "So," he starts, looking around the room to notice a certain architect not in her usual spot in the office. She probably went out for a coffee break. "The architect."

He can see Arthur tense up, but he drinks his coffee nonetheless. "What about her?"

Cobb raises a mocking eyebrow. "You like her, don't you?"

Arthur chokes on his coffee and Cobb coughs to cover his laugh. "Arthur; for a point man, you're pretty obvious around her."

"No I'm not," Arthur retorts, knowing that he's lying. "You just read me better than her." It was true; Cobb did read Arthur better than Ariadne.

Cobb shrugged, taking the statement into account. "True. But I hope you realize the risks of this situation happening."

"I'm not you Cobb," Arthur mutters, oblivious to the way Cobb's eyes darkened and his jaw tightened. "I know the risks of being in a relationship with someone on the same team."

The blonde takes in his best friend's almost sad demeanor and his expression softens. Never in his life as he seen his friend looking so... vulnerable. For some reason Cobb didn't like it. "Hey," he mutters, nudging Arthur softly. "I know you're smarter than I was. I know you'll do anything to protect her. I trust you to make the right decisions."

Arthur knitted his eyebrows for a second, ignoring the way this whole scenario seemed like Cobb had given Arthur his blessing for him to take Ariadne's hand to marriage. Instead, Arthur smiled. "Thanks Cobb."

Cobb was about to accept before Eames burst through the door with his usual annoying British laugh.

"I hear you like Ariadne, Arthur boy," Eames greets, grinning like the biggest fool alive.

In a way; he was the biggest fool alive.

Arthur facepalmed the situation as Cobb laughed.

4. people start to make her the center of perverted jokes
(& you have to mask your annoyance with your co-workers; especially those whose name is Eames)

"How do you feel about going to a stripper club tonight, Arthur darling?" Eames questioned, a knowing smirk on his face as if he already knew the answer to that question.

Arthur looked up to glare at him. "What do you think my answer is Eames?"

Eames feigned an expression that looked like something between innocence and knowing. "I'd take that as a no."

"And you're correct Eames," Arthur muttered, looking back at his work.

Eames still wouldn't leave; instead choosing to hover over his desk like a stalker. Arthur looked up from his work once again. "What do you this time Eames?"

Eames shrugged. "I'm sure you'll be getting more action anyways." With that, he pointed at Ariadne and winked at the former before strolling away to his own desk.

Out of the corner of Arthur's eyes, he saw Eames muttering something to Cobb and Yusuf before they exploded into laughter as well. Yusuf sent him a knowing grin and Cobb sent him a 'thumbs-up' look that Arthur always hated.

He hoped Ariadne hadn't noticed the sexual tension that grew in the room.

He gritted his teeth at the co-workers and turned back to his work.

5. you attempt to ask her out
(& you stammer over all your words during the day)

He realized this was the day.

He was going to ask Ariadne out to that nice French restaurant that he managed to reserve earlier that day, and his palms were just so shaky and so sweaty. His mind was going a million miles an hour and he jumped in his chair and staggered with his answers every time he had to answer a question.

Eames would look at him with the mildest amount of concern, Cobb—who probably know the in-depth of the situation—would only smirk in his direction, Yusuf would ignore him, and Ariadne would eye him carefully with concern lacing her eyes.

"Did you get stuttering pills today, darling?" Eames questioned casually, walking over to Arthur's desk and watching as he typed up a few things on his laptop.

Arthur didn't answer right away.

Cobb jumped in before Arthur could motion for the forger to go away.

"Arthur's trying to ask Ariadne out," Cobb muttered softly, motioning to Ariadne with his thumb.

Eames didn't even look surprise. "Well, at least you aren't as heartless as I thought you to be."

"Gee. Thanks Eames."

"Good luck," Eames muttered back. "And keep the clothes on tonight."

Arthur deadpanned and ignored the way Cobb laughed at Eames stupid request.

No; instead, Eames pulled the one thing Arthur was seriously considering to kill him for.

"Hey Ariadne!" Eames called, watching the way Arthur choked on something unknown and fidgeted in his chair as Ariadne walked over to the three workers with a smile on her face.

"What's up?"

Eames grinned. "Arthur wants to ask you something."

"Privately." was all Arthur managed to let out, nearly shoving his way between Cobb and Eames and grabbing Ariadne by the wrist. "I will ask you my question outside."

Ariadne looked genuinely confused, but allowed Arthur to drag her outside into the warm summer air of Paris. She didn't notice the way Arthur was hot as a tomato and she didn't notice the way he was nervously pulling at the ends of his tie. This was obviously not the time; for he had nothing to say that about presenting his objective.

She finally noticed the way he was almost making knots in his tie. "Arthur? Are you okay?"

"Huh? Oh, yeah I'm fine. Just a little..." he realized his hands were shaking, so he shoved them into his pocket. "...Shaky."

She nodded in understanding before finally noticing the way his tie was oddly tied together and smiled at the sight. "Oh look, your tie."

Without permission, she took the tie in between her fingers and fixed her eyes on the knot. As she attempted to untie it, she was unknowingly pulling him closer and closer to her; causing him to shake more and his breath to hitch up a few more paces. By the time she was finished, their foreheads were only inches apart.

Arthur pulled away immediately. "Thanks."

"No problem."

He looked away again, trying to form his words into proper sentences; which was a hard thing to do because his brain had seemed to lose all its oxygen. His heart was pounding out of his ears. "Hey Ariadne?"


"Uh... maybe later tonight, I could... uh," he averted his gaze and rubbed the back of his neck, cursing himself for sounding so un-Arthur like. "Take you out to dinner, perhaps?"

She blinked, and a small smile graced her features. "Like a date?"

He hated how she sounded so calm; something that was usually suppose to be his job.

"Y-Yeah," he muttered. "Like a date."

Her smile was larger than life this time. "Sure. I'd love that.

Those became the best words in human history for him.

6. you open yourself up a little more to her
(& you try your best to ignore the flirtatious glances from other woman)

Dinner ended up being a lot more successful than he had originally planned; not that he always assumed she would say yes in the beginning.

They departed from the warehouse at the leaving time, and they dropped by her apartment so she could put on a different set of clothing to fit the atmosphere more. And when she emerged from the bedroom door, his jaw almost fell open and his eyes couldn't leave her choice of outfit and he almost smiled (he never smiled at something as simple as a choice of outfit before).

Well, it was only because she suddenly became the most beautiful thing he's ever laid eyes on.

It was a simple blue one-shoulder dress that went up to the knees. The waistline was silver and she was wearing a silver necklace and silver earrings to correspond. Her hair was curled up and she was holding a silver clutch and holding out a pair of silver high heels.

She twirled around nervously. "Too much?"

Too beautiful.

He shook his head, smiling. "You look great."

She almost blushed, but took the arm he offered out. "Thank you. You look great too."

Arthur almost laughed. "I'm wearing the exact same thing I was during work."

"Yeah, but now it has a different feel to it."

Arthur had only smiled at that, not fully understanding the meaning of it and led her to the restaurant that he had reserved earlier that day; talking and laughing with Ariadne the whole way there.

He'll admit, that he caught the waitress and many other female diners sending flirtatious glances toward him maybe once or twice during the night. And he'll admit that he caught Ariadne looking uncomfortable with the whole scenario going down. But after making small talk about the food choices and wine opinions, she didn't comment on it.

She took his arm again once they departed from the restaurant, and her eyes wandered the streets. Arthur looked at her carefully. "Is there something bothering you, Ariadne?"

"Nothing," she answered, looking up at him and smiling timidly.

He raised an eyebrow. "Why do I get the strangest feeling that you're lying?"

"What's there to lie about?"

He knitted his eyebrows, studying her face once more; ignoring the way her eyes averted themselves for a moment. "Nothing. Never mind."

They were silent for a moment.

"Did I ever tell you I wanted to be a roller derby star when I was younger?" she offered, hoping to ease the tension between the two.

Arthur laughed naturally at the thought. "No," he replied after a second's thought. "I don't think you did."

"Yeah, well. My parents didn't really support the whole idea then. So I just moved to Paris after graduating to work on architecture."

He didn't respond immediately, instead taking the silence to roll out an answer. "My parents didn't support my original idea of a job either."

"Oh? What was that?"

Arthur looked over at Ariadne with a distance glance. It wasn't as if no one has ever asked him about his past; because they had. He just didn't always feel comfortable opening himself up to people, especially since his past was just full of so much regret.

He took a breath, hoping he wouldn't regret it. He closed his jaw in a casual fashion and sent her a small smile. "Greeting cards."

7. you take the next step
(& she appears to welcome it with open arms)

The first time he kisses her, it was in the pouring rain; and it was totally hot, not matter how cliché kissing in the rain sounded.

They had just gotten out of the restaurant of their second date, walking with her arms intertwined with his own, and they were making small talk that made each other laugh. Until it started to rain. Ariadne had been the first to react, trying to cover her head poorly with her hands and attempting to run under some shade until Arthur stopped her and took her wrists close to his chest.

He leaned down until their foreheads were touching and he smirked when she shifted slightly and her cheeks heated up at the contact.

"I might kiss you," he muttered, fully enjoying the cold water that washed over himself and his clothing.

Ariadne smiled shyly back. "I'm all yours."

He kissed her. And he didn't regret it.